Undermine ’em with the Ufimtsev

In Russia the so-called Pirc Defence (1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 or 1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 followed by …Nf6) is usually called the Ufimtsev Defence or the Ufimtsev-Pirc. It is so named after the Soviet and Kazakh master Anatoly Ufimtsev, who was already pioneering this line in the 1930s.

Black’s idea in the Ufimtsev-Pirc is to lure White into building a broad pawn center and then undermining it. This concept finds clear expression in the Austrian Attack (1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3) and now lines such as 5…0-0 6.e5 Nfd7 7.h4 c5!. Other lines too have this sort of play, which at the time this defence was developed was considered quite revolutionary.

Here we see Ufimtsev using his line against the gambit expert Yakov Estrin. White builds an imposing looking center only to have it crumble:

Nigel Davies

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Author: NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster and FIDE Senior Trainer living in St. Helens in the UK. He works as a chess coach and author and Nigel runs the Tiger Chess Academy which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos, courses and a regular blog. His students include his 18 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Nigel has written a number of chess books that are available at Amazon: View all posts by NigelD

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